Friday, August 1, 2014

Growing Supper

We've had cooler weather. It's still hot during the day, but the breeze coming across our bed at night is chilly. My front flower bed is in full bloom, mostly black-eyed susans which are lovely, but the scattered purple coneflowers are what the hummingbirds and butterflies visit when they show up. 

It’s that time of year when everyone growing a garden feels pretty smug with themselves. They bypass the produce section in the grocery store and learn anew how resplendent, colorful, varied in taste and texture a vegetable really is.

I thinned the beets and served the young tubers along with the greens on top, root and all. The taste is pure mother earth. You don’t think of beets as sweet, but they seem so when contrasted with the hint of bitter in the greens, a delicious pairing.

And the new red spuds are perfection. “Like butter,” my sis would say about them, as she does anything that is as good as butter is.

I tried the Ruth Stout method of planting spuds. Not with the entire crop, just the ones I intended to harvest as the season progressed, as opposed to those I want to leave in the ground for fall harvest to be stored over the winter. You lay the cut spud on top of the ground with an eye or two on top, then cover it with a heavy layer of mulch. A sprout develops and comes up through the mulch and grows a large plant while under the mulch a feeler comes out to start a new potato. You can reach under the mulch and see the whole process, harvest what you want, and then pull the mulch back over without disturbing the little ones. My grandmother, who liked to sneak a few spuds out mid-season, called this careful harvest “tickling” for potatoes.

There are lots of yards around but few vegetable gardens. I don't understand why anyone with a patch of earth, owned or rented or borrowed, wouldn’t put in a seed and grow some food. I think if we all nurtured a cucumber or squash, a few plants of basil or beans, many of our planet’s problems would abate - just from the knowledge gained by grasping the power of dirt. We’re all dependent on it; we’re just romanced by supermarkets and restaurants, fooled into thinking we don’t owe our lives each day to soil and water and sunshine.

yes, it's all edible


  1. Great topic and another great piece. Thanks, Wendy, for the reminder we all need about the bounties of Mother Earth.

  2. SPOT ON mom, Spot on:

    just from the knowledge gained by grasping the power of dirt.